\ ˈsēk \
sought\ˈsȯt \; seeking

Definition of seek 

transitive verb

1 : to resort to : go to

2a : to go in search of : look for

b : to try to discover

3 : to ask for : request seeks advice

4 : to try to acquire or gain : aim at seek fame

5 : to make an attempt : try used with to and an infinitive governments … seek to keep the bulk of their people contented —D. M. Potter

intransitive verb

1 : to make a search or inquiry

2a : to be sought

b : to be lacking in critical judgment … they were sadly to seekThe Times Literary Supplement (London)

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Other words from seek

seeker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for seek

seek, search, and hunt mean to look for something. seek may be used in looking for either material or mental things. She's always seeking new friends. I seek the truth. search is used when looking for something in a very careful, thorough way. We searched all over the house for the letter. hunt is used for a long pursuit. I hunted all day for the right present.

Examples of seek in a Sentence

The office is seeking a salesperson. The prince is seeking a wife. Snakes seek the sun to warm their bodies. You should visit your doctor and seek his advice. You should seek medical help immediately if you experience any chest pain or shortness of breath. The church is seeking donations. He sought revenge for his son's murder. During the war, she sought asylum in Spain. They sought refuge in Canada. The company is seeking new ways to improve service.
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Recent Examples on the Web

State Police did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Alejandro Serrano,, "Truck jackknifes on Mass. Pike near Palmer," 13 July 2018 Police are seeking a younger white male, about 6 feet, with short hair. Nancy Daly,, "Boone sheriff's office seeks to ID 'bandage bandit'," 13 July 2018 Trump will seek one anyway, hoping to solve some of the most intractable conflicts with one of America’s least trustworthy adversaries in a flashy one-day event. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 Saint Al’s also sought $5 million in interest from the allegedly unpaid bills. Audrey Dutton, idahostatesman, "St. Luke's sues prison contractor over $12 million in medical bills," 13 July 2018 Pepper did not return numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment. Dylan Purcell,, "Can Philadelphia school officials be trusted with millions in state money to clean up lead paint?," 12 July 2018 Best Buy Carpet and Granite Tops, 585 S. Route 59, Aurora, owns the parcels south of the church and has been seeking to annex into Naperville to build a new store and more development on the land for more than a year. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Naperville to consider annexing Route 59 church to make way for commerical development," 12 July 2018 Neither the Five Guys corporate office nor Harborplace management responded to messages seeking comment Wednesday regarding when the restaurant closed or whether another will replace it. Gal Tziperman Lotan,, "Five Guys burger joint closes at Harborplace," 11 July 2018 Findling did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Atlanta bribery evidence against Mitzi Bickers includes recordings," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seek.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of seek

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for seek

Middle English seken, from Old English sēcan; akin to Old High German suohhen to seek, Latin sagus prophetic, Greek hēgeisthai to lead

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Statistics for seek

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for seek

The first known use of seek was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for seek



English Language Learners Definition of seek

: to search for (someone or something) : to try to find (someone or something)

: to ask for (help, advice, etc.)

: to try to get or achieve (something)


\ ˈsēk \
sought\ˈsȯt \; seeking

Kids Definition of seek

1 : to try to find seek help … foxes called to each other, seeking again their lifelong mates. —Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain

2 : to try to win or get He sought revenge.

3 : to make an attempt Doctors are seeking to find a cure.

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Comments on seek

What made you want to look up seek? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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